I will never be cold again – Old Romance and other knits

Old Romance was released in March and as soon as I saw it I wanted to make it. I bought the pattern, but as it usually happens, it got stuck in my knitting queue. Then at the end of July a Joji Fall knit along was announced and I decided to join. The cast on date was August 1st and we had 3 months to finish. That seamed reasonable and indeed I was able to finish on time.

Ignore the squinty  eyes here

I bought the yarn on eBay, it’s a lambswool/silk mix, a little scratchy but not too bad. I can wear this cardigan a whole day without any problem. And it was a bargain at £3/100g. I recently bought some merino from the same shop and it’s very soft and nice.

Following the knit along, I discovered/remembered a few techniques. The first one is one that I used before, but forgot about it – twin stitch short rows, aka shadow wraps – they are invisible. I always had little holes when I used the wrap and turn method.

Next one is Russian grafting technique – joining live stitches with a crochet hook. It’s not invisible like kitchener, it looks like a lovely braid.

And the last one is this extra stretchy, no flare bind off for ribbing, continental (Lori’s twisty bind off). I knit continental, but a different variation than Lori – it’s called Eastern uncrossed. In this variation some stitches sit differently on the needle, like they are twisted. Long story short, I didn’t used this bind off because I was to lazy to “translate” the method from standard continental to Eastern uncrossed, and using it as it was resulted in a very un-stretchy ribbing. But I would like to try it at some point.


And since I was in the knitting fever, I also made two hats – one for me and one for the boy.

no pattern – drops merino baby

WhiteTree Purple Vogue 8787

Sometime in august I met Simona for a drink when she was in London and she told me about WhiteTree Fabrics and their blog team. I checked their website and they were still looking for bloggers to join the team, so I signed up!

It took me two months to make this dress and write this post, and this was after almost a month of trying to choose the pattern and fabric. In the end I decided to go with something practical, that I could wear everyday. I used Vogue 8787 because I loved that neckline, a purple ponte roma and black stretch lining.

After looking at images of finished dresses using this pattern, I decided to make the top one size smaller than what I would normally go for. The neckline and gathered detail were more obvious when the top is really stretched on the body. The little table on the envelope says I’m somewhere in-between size 12 and 14, but after measuring the pattern I cut the top in size 10 tapering to 12 at the waist/skirt.

I didn’t want a straight skirt, but a very full skirt wouldn’t look to good in this fabric either (I think), so I closed the darts on the straight skirt to get this A-line shape. I followed the pattern instructions for constructing the dress, but I always attach the lining following this tutorial.

It’s not very visible here, but I do need a sway back adjustment

The plan was to make a winter dress but it looked much too severe with long sleeves and skirt.

My next project will be something crazy, because that’s what you should do with free patterns and fabric! I don’t know how often I would wear a jacket like this, but I need one in my life.

Here’s a discount code you can use for 20% off and free delivery – LIVING ROOM. Go check their lace selection, it’s huge!

Fehrtrade duathlon leggings

Back in July I won Melissa’s Spring Race Challenge, and not only did I win a great bundle of fabrics and some special accessories, but I also got to meet Melissa. I’m sorry I didn’t take a selfie with her, as I’m a very big fan :D

The duathlon shorts were part of the prize and then Melissa announced her Spoonflower collaboration with Laurie King. She had me at “UK shoppers, you can order one yard of Performance Piqué from Spoonflower and still be under HMRC’s customs exemptions value!“. I ordered from US before and ended up paying 30% more for custom and handling fees. But she was right, I didn’t pay anything extra for this fabric and it was delivered in 2 weeks.

The fabric is quite firm – it doesn’t take pins easily and it doesn’t have any vertical stretch. I added 4cm length below the waist as recommended by Melissa to make up for the lack of stretch. Even so I managed to make my leggings 7cm longer than the capri length, so I can still wear them now that the weather is not that warm. I had to piece the side panels, but they look ok.

I cut them in size XS because my last pair of Fehrtrade leggings in size M was a bit too big. If I make then again in a stretchier fabric, I’ll go down to XXS.

The pocket is not wide enough to hold my phone, but my card, parkrun code and keys fit just fine. Here I am after my second Parkrun ever, wearing my new leggings with a matching XYT top.

I was thinking of making another pair using the fabric I won and widen the side panels so I can slip my phone in them. But now that Melissa released a free armband pattern, I might make one of those to keep my phone :)


One more Burda 08/14 seamed dress

This dress was ready a month ago, just in time for the “One pattern,  many looks” contest on Pattern Review. It didn’t make it into the contest because I misread the rules and added sleeves, but adding pattern pieces was not allowed, only altering the existing ones.

I used the same pattern, same size, altered in the same way as the first time. The first dress fit great, but it’s made in ponte roma. This one is cotton sateen, there’s less stretch in this fabric since it’s a woven, but I didn’t expect it to be so tight. I haven’t worn it outside yet :|

This is what I had in mind when I decided to use the stripes. It was more dramatic in my head, but I guess in reality is less… impressive?

There is some thought in the chaotic swirl, there’s a continuous line going from my right underarm to side left, I marked it on the pattern before cutting. I knew I won’t be able to match all the lines because of the different angles but I wanted to have at least one row that matched.

I have a few more finished items to show you – a pair of Duathlon capris and a modified Scout. Simple quick makes, because lately knitting is eating all of my time. I’m knitting the gorgeous Old Romance and I’m almost done!

There’s another knitted top that I abandoned for Old Romance. It only needs 10 more rows, so that one should be ready soon too. After that I have a few hats and cowls planned. I’ve been to the knitting and stitching show today and I touched the softest wool I’ve ever touched in my life – MrsMoon’s Plump – this is going to make the greatestest winter set.

The new and improved Skinny Barb

Yes, I did it again, this time skinnier and with back pockets.

With reversed half red – half blue legs (totally unintentional)

They now have ankle zips

And top-stitched elastic waistband

I’m thinking of making a matching jacket. I need to build my jacket making skills and wouldn’t it be fun to have a crazy floral print two piece?

Burda 8/2014 103 or the million pieces dress

Actually there are only 14, but still…

It was love at first sight with this dress. I don’t know why it took me so long to make it. This is actually a test, I don’t love these colors together, but this ponte I had around was a suitable fabric to test the pattern. And luckily for me, the pattern fits! There are some obviously changes I made:

1. added sleeves – I like my dresses with sleeves, don’t really get the little wings Burda keeps using for all their dresses. The sleeves are from an older Burda dress, same size as the one I used for this one, 38

2. I made it a lot shorter, probably close to 20cm shorter. This makes the dress a bit unbalanced, the proportions are now a bit off with so much white at the top and so little at the bottom. Oh, well!

3. Because I shortened it I didn’t feel like raising the back vent and dropped it completely. I never made one before and I didn’t want to start now :D

4. I did some kind of sway back alteration, as in I started sewing the skirt to the top at the sides using a 1/4 seam allowance and I gradually went to a 1/2 seam allowance at center back.

The pattern doesn’t have  facings, and while they are very easy to make yourself, I thought that the neckline would get to bulky. So I sewed the lining directly to the dress at the neck and then I pick stitched the neckline to keep the lining from showing. I did understitch as well, but I felt that it wasn’t enough. The lining is a very light elastic lining so I was worried that it would get dragged out by the heavy outer fabric. I used Sherry’s wonderful tutorial for sewing the lining using the machine.

Looking at the dress, you’d think sewing it it’s going to take forever. It only took me about 3 hours from start to finish, BUT I did skip ironing. Naughty, naughty! The ponte is very forgiving with fit and pressing, but I do need to press that center back seam below the zip :|. I think tracing the pattern took longer, because DID YOU SEE THE AUGUST PATTERN SHEETS???!! Sorry for the caps but they are atrocious! Fortunately the September sheets don’t look as bad, so hopefully this was a one off.

Ok, so I don’t love the colors , but I love the dress, the fabric makes it super comfortable for a sheath dress and I’ll probably wear it again. Because  I did wear it yesterday to work and everyone loved it. Or they say they did :)

Skinny Barb

I haven’t tried any StyleArc pattern until now, not because I don’t like them, but I keep hearing how expensive shipping is. To be honest, I never checked, I have no idea how much it costs. Recently I found out about one of their free PDF pattern – Barb - I think it’s their only PDF pattern. I think you can still download it, and you get the size you choose, plus the two nearest, each of them comes in a separate file.

It’s a very simple pattern, it has only 3 pieces – front back and waistband. I went for size 10 based on my measurements and I think 8 would’ve been better. After sewing them I decided to take them in and make them skinny. I don’t have a “before” photo, but straight trousers don’t look very good on me, I need to go to the extremes :)

I was looking after a bird :D

The waistband sits pretty high, but I’m short so it might be just right for people with a normal height. The pattern requires 5cm wide elastic for the waistband.

The fabric is a stretch cotton I bought from Saeed Fabrics in Walthamstow Market. It was £8/m, expensive compared to what you can buy there, but there weren’t many stretch cottons available then, AND it has spots!

Two weeks ago I went back to Walthamstow and found a generous selection of stretch cottons so I have another pair of skinny Barbs planned. I will however make the following changes:

1. Make the waistband 1 cm narrower. I have plenty of 4cm wide elastic and no 5cm and it’s too high anyway.

2. The waistband has the same pattern piece for front and back, but the front and back of the pattern are different widths. I think I will change the waistband to reflect that.

3. I will add back pockets. I need a place to keep my Oyster and they make the backside look smaller.

4. I will make them even skinnier and add metallic exposed zippers at the hem. Probably in different colors because I don’t think I have a matching pair, but the fabric I’ll be using next is a colorful print, so it should be fine.

I wore the spotty pair 3 times last week, this would’ve been a good pattern for OWOP. They are comfortable enough to do this

This photo took a lot of hard work!

Soo, does anyway know how much the shipping costs for StyleArc patterns? I really like this jacket, similar to an out of print Vogue. I’m also worried about customs, I paid 30% in VAT and custom fees for an already expensive yarn I bought from US.

Monique Jacket

Patrones twopiecesetacular

I started working on this set a long long time ago (I can still remember :) ), right after Alder and before the cuffed shorts. I had it in mind for a while and then Sophie started talking about two piece sets. I loved this cotton silk voile and I wasn’t sure if I would wear a white dress too often, so a deux pieces was the answer!


The fabric was a gift from a friend I met online. She came to London two months ago and we finally met IRL ☺. Thank you, Olga!

As I said, the fabric is a cotton silk voile and I had to underline it for decency. This meant extra work – I had to cut each piece twice and baste the layers together. All the seams are french or hand flat felled and the hems and bias bindings around the neck and arms are slip stitched to the underlining.

I didn’t know how to use interfacing when underlining was involved,so I skipped it and use narrow ribbon for the pocket openings.

Both patterns are from a Patrones magazine, I used size 44 but I think 40 would’ve worked better, for the blouse at least. I didn’t have enough fabric for the button placket and cuffs. The placket would get lost in the print anyway, but I am a bit sad I didn’t have enough for the cuffs.

I didn’t get to wear the set more than once, August was very cold this year. But I did wear the top a few times, it looks nice with skinny trousers (and there’s a spotty pair I need to show you)

Burda 6/2010 cuffed shorts

This was the most challenging project I’ve worked on lately. There were so many things that went wrong from the beginning, I’m amazed I didn’t give up.

I’ll make a summary here, using a numbered list. I didn’t count them before, it will be a surprise for me too :)

1. Cutting – I only had 60 cm of this black cotton sateen and I carefully placed all my pattern pieces on it to see if I had enough fabric. Lucky for me (or not?) I’m so short that 60 cm is enough for a pair of shorts. Well, almost enough, because there wasn’t enough to include seam allowances in the back legs. But that wasn’t that big of a problem.

2. Cutting – because of fabric constraints again, I had to cut the belt loops separately. sewing the belt loops in one piece and cutting them after is so much easier.


3. Welt pockets – I applied the fusible interfacing for the welt pockets after sewing the dart. The fabric wasn’t laying flat, you can imagine the result. 

4. Front pockets – Burda usually has you cut the pocket facing in one piece from the main fabric. But since I didn’t have enough fabric, I slashed that piece and cut it from both the main fabric and lining. I probably messed up the seam allowances, because the back pocket pieces turned out huge compared to the front ones.

5. Front pockets – I applied interfacing on the right side of the fabric. I realised this soon enough, I was able to rip it up and press it on the wrong side.

6. I remember unpicking some seams, not sure where and why, but you can never forget unpicking seams in black fabric.

7. There is that weird pulling on the right front. I think I used a longer wider allowance when I sewn the waistband to that part of the front, where the drag lines start.

8. I almost forgot this one – the welts are different sizes, one is wider than the other.

I would say 8 is not a  lot, but not too little either. Still, despite that drag line, I see these shorts as very wearable. I think they look pretty good considering what I went through making them. The fly gave me a bit of trouble as well, I don’t enjoy sewing zip flies (is that the plural?), but it turned out ok. I used Jen’s tutorial, but I will try another one next time. I hand sewn the top of the cuffs to the pants, so they don’t sag and/or get out of shape in the wash. 

I had two cuffed shorts patterns in my Burda collection. The other one didn’t have the pleats and were shorter. I chose this pattern because they are very similar to a RTW pair I love. They are the exact same length – they end exactly were my thighs get slimmer :D

see those drag lines? not visible in every image i have, but very visible here.

I wanted to wear that belt but somebody else had other plans :)

Alder shirt dress or How I learned yo use my Featherweight

Almost 2 months ago I won a Singer Featherweight on eBay and almost two weeks later it was found in a recycling bin a few streets away from my house. Thank you, Hermes, I promise never to use your services again! Lucky for me,  the nice gentleman who found it in its bin before collection day was so kind to bring her to me. I tested her and it wad working fine overall, but there wasn’t enough pressure in the foot to keep the fabric from shifting under it. I googled a bit and found a service manual and I finally got around fixing the foot height.

Singer Featherweight

My black beauty


Alder was next on my list, so this is my first completed garment using her.
I bough the pdf version of Alder the day it was released. I couldn’t wait for the print pattern, I was waiting since May, when Jen was posting selfies next to her fridge wearing different versions of Alder :). I had 2.5m of chambray bought from the man outside Sainsbury’s which was perfect for view B of the dress, the first view I wanted to try. I remember I only wanted to buy 1.5m but there were 2.5 left on the roll and I was offered the full length for the price of 2m. Yes, please!
I traced size 10 based on the measurements I knew I had and after measuring the pattern, made a tiny petite alteration at armscye level and made a muslin. And the muslin was tight at the bust. And the pattern said there should be enough ease. I measured my self again. Aha! Looks like the last couple of months of not running added a few cm here and there :| .  Anyway,  the muslin was looking ok at the shoulders and back so I made a full bust adjustment (my first) and removed another half of inch at the bust level to raise the dart and shorten the bodice a little more.

Last weekend I cut and sewed the dress. It all went smooth and fairly quick, except for those little mistakes when I sewed the darts on the right side and then I was left with a bit more collar stand at the end of the neckline and I had to chop a bit off. Other than that, the collar was really easy to sew, don’t know why I was so scared of it. I can see more shirts in my future :)

It was really easy to top stitch close to the edge with this machine, I just aligned the edge of the fabric with the inner right edge of the foot.

And here is the dress, in all its flowy wrinkled glory :)

There are a few things I’ll try to do better next time:

1. Stay-stitch the waist, even if it’s a straight line, and press, don’t iron! The waist ended up 4in/10cm wider than the pattern. It’s more obvious in this picture. HUGE.

2. There are some drag lines at the back armscye area. The dress is not tight there, you can see there is some ease around center back. Even though the lines point to the sides, I tried pinching the shoulder seam close to the shoulder, and that seemed to fix the issue. I need to experiment with the shoulder angle a bit. Or maybe it’s the ironing again?

3. The center front drops a little, there are some drag lines there as well. It’s either the snaps are too heavy or again, I ironed the fabric out of shape.

This weekend I cut fabric for two pair of shorts and one top. I don’t like working on more projects at a time, but 2 of them require a lot of hand sewing and I didn’t want to ignore my sewing machine for too long :)